EDFs

A discussion forum for proposed changes to the AWS rules (2014)

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teamocean
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Re: EDFs

Post by teamocean »

My view is that I'm not overly keen on the EDF bots. I've even bought parts for one but could never quite bring myself to use them.

Personally I would be in favour of a ban on any types of additional downforce. The gaining popularity of silicon wheels has already improved the grip on most ants to a new level which for me is more than enough.

Anyway, just my standpoint. I'll be waiting with interest to see what the general view is.
Will Thomas
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Remote-Controlled Dave
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Re: EDFs

Post by Remote-Controlled Dave »

I didn't mean I'd have more chance if I built pushers than any other kind of robot, I meant I'd win more fights with 4WD pushers than the mad things I had at the last event...but they were still technically pushers. I have nothing against pushers. We're not talking about pushers, we're talking about EDFs. We already reduced the drop offs and pushers weren't dominant at the AWS (though the sample size of robots was still a bit too low to make solid conclusions yet).

A further point I want to add is that ALBOF won its second title very convincingly, but it wasn't completely out of trouble the whole time. Two robots managed to almost beat it. Surely it'll just be more of an achievement to whoever eventually does beat it, like when Tornado finally beat Chaos 2 in RW. And I've no doubt that the minute it stops winning, Andy wont want to run it anymore.
Die Gracefully Robotics
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Re: EDFs

Post by Remote-Controlled Dave »

Rory beat me to all my points :P
Die Gracefully Robotics
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BeligerAnt
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Re: EDFs

Post by BeligerAnt »

Dave, I think you've probably said everything I need to say :)

There is NO REASON (other than safety) to ban any particular technology or type of robot. If you don't like EDFs - don't build them! If you don't like 3D printing, silicone tyres, or round wheels - don't use them!! We might as well ban LiPo batteries, Rory's speed controllers or 3D-printed parts because "everybody" uses them...

People should be free to build whatever types of robots they like (within the rules). Just because you don't like EDFs (who does? :P ) it doesn't mean you have the right to insist that no-one can build one.

The build rules are currently quite simple. Apart from the weapons limitations inherited from Robot Wars plus some for safety, there are very few build rules now. Thankfully we got rid of all the complicated armour rules (eventually!). We really don't want to go back down the road of adding rules to discriminate against particular types of robots.

Remember, this is a hobby, it's supposed to be fun. Build what you *want* to build, not what you feel you *should* build. Innovate (you might even win some of Dave's cash!). Be original. And most importantly have fun!
Gary, Team BeligerAnt

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Re: EDFs

Post by AntRoboteer »

I must be the only one who actually likes EDF pushers despite never building one or having the intention to! However, please don't draw me against any; I'm not in love with them that much! :-)

You have to admit, these EDF designs are pretty astonishing. They just seem to work and push things off with ease. Even though people hate them for this, I feel it will actually encourage innovation. Quite a few people have said they don't like them or can't bring themselves to build them. Great; I guess we'll then see robots which will be designed to beat these fan pushers very soon which will be awesome. A brand new breed of robot will surely emerge which will be more powerful and competitive than ever before and hopefully won't just be stronger EDFs. People can build what they want but I think simply people disliking EDF pushers will be enough to put people off of building them and the challenge of beating such machines will be a nice incentive to build better machines for everyone. A nice benefit of keeping them in competition.

Also, as has been pointed out, these EDFs haven't met many if any spinners yet (not to my knowledge anyway) so I think it's too early to claim them indestructible and ban them, especially seeing as they can suffer from the same driving errors as any other robot and hurl themselves off of the arena too. Let's just hope everyone can come up with something different and awesome to put them in the shade entirely if that's what people want rather than banning them or limiting them (although I don't see how you could, really).

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Re: EDFs

Post by EpicentrE »

This is a hobby. It's also a competition. Maybe some of us want to enjoy the hobby, but also want to win. Maybe we turn up to events to have fun, but equally want a fair and balanced competition in which to compete. Maybe we love building robots and fighting them whether we win or lose, but we don't want to lose because of what we feel are unfair designs or inadequate rules. Is that such a hard concept to comprehend?

If you are not at all interested in the competitive side of the hobby that's fine, but it really feels like it's impossible to ever have any discussions on making progress towards what I deem to be a reasonable goal of ensuring equality for as many different robot types as possible and a rule set which encourages innovation and intelligent design decisions. Because every time we start the discussion, people post "It's just for fun! Build what you want!". I can't build what I want because I want to win. I can't beat ALBOF or a similar robot driven by a similarly skilled driver with a robot without a spinning weapon without also putting an EDF in it. That is not fun to me, it does not inspire innovation, it does not make me feel like there is equality amongst designs if I feel that I am required to have something very specific in order to beat another class of machine.

There are no other examples of this in our hobby, as far as I know. There are no situations where, assuming similar design finesse, build quality and driver skill, a certain type of robot automatically has an almost absolute advantage over a whole swathe of other types of robots in a way that they cannot counter through intelligence of their own designs. As I have said, robot combat is always a bit rock-paper-scissors, but only in a way that skews the fight in the favour of one machine. Not in a way that makes fighting a type of robot almost insurmountable if you don't have the specific thing you need to counter it.

Yes, a good spinner could beat ALBOF. Yes, a good Axe or crusher could beat ALBOF. Oh, you didn't build one of those and you got drawn against it? Then you've almost no hope of winning. Bad luck. How is that fun for anyone involved?
Scott Fyfe-Jamieson, Captain of Epic Robotics. Champion of AWS38/41/42.
http://www.epicrobotics.co.uk

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Re: EDFs

Post by Remote-Controlled Dave »

Like I said Scott, the problem isn't EDFs, the problem is ALBOF.

And, forgive me on a rather flippant point, but I think a lot of us gave up trying to win because of you, Andy and Alex. If you're talking about the have fun vs competition debate, ALBOF isn't the only robot that skews the field. The results show it. When is the last time a new robot went top 3 that wasn't built by one of you guys? Its very easy to state that we should want to win as much as you do when we cant build robots that can. Any wonder we revert to "lets just have fun" instead? Or "I may as well pay someone else to build my machine"? Like I said, I can beat, say, Void, but only if I build specifically, and have 4 versions of Kellog's Corn Snake on my team, but I don't want to feel I have to just to win. Isn't that the same as you say about ALBOF? The only difference is I love Void and you hate ALBOF, so it seems like an easier pill to swallow, but the 'issue' is still there.

The only way to counteract that would be something like if the same robot wins, say, 3 AWSs in a row then the builder has to retire it and build something else. That way no one robot will ever become overwhelmingly successful. But I fear this conversation isn't really about EDFs. I was talking to Will about the difficulty that newcomers have making an effect on the field nowadays and how the top 3, even the top 4 or 5 at all AWSs now is becoming the same few faces no matter what the competition. That's not as much fun for the rest of us as you imagine, so we get by in other ways. We shift our focus from winning to innovation or silliness or enjoyment. We have to, as the alternative is going off in a huff because we can never win the competition. Maybe that's a bit sad but its true. And no alteration of the rules will change that.
Die Gracefully Robotics
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Shakey
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Re: EDFs

Post by Shakey »

I feel I'm coming under some flak here so I'm going to explain why I do this and my aims for each robot. Contrary to popular belief winning AWSs isn't my actual goal.

Every robot I make has 2 goals, one to be fun for me to fight. This first goal is why robots like ROFLSTOMP came into existence and how Carbon stayed on my team for so long despite repeated disappointing performance. If I was trying to be ultra competitive hexa-chopper would have never existed as I knew from the start that that robot was a nightmare but I built him anyway. The second goal is each robot of mine is expected to get out the groups, a failure to do so indicates poor design or driving. Yes this second goal has a competitive edge but getting out the groups just tells me my robot is good. This brings me to one of the main reasons I'm in this hobby. I love building different robots and fine tuning them to be the best they can be while making them fun for me, it's why I build robots for other people because I enjoy it and the challenges of each one. However the benchmark for the performance of a robot is how well it does.

Now many people complain about one type of design being more effective then others and we've been through this with Stanley and pushers and tried changing the arena to counter this. But the interesting thing is in all these debates I only felt like (not trying to drag anyone else into this, just saying what I felt) Andy, Rory or Scott tried to beat it in the arena rather than with the arena or the rules book. So this is what I'm doing, I'm constantly evolving my robots and they will evolve further to overcome the obstacle of void and ALBOF. I have an entry cooked up that should give any pusher a run for their money, by extension it'll be a good counter to a wide range of bots and no doubt I'll fight it and if it wins you'll all boo (seriously though joke is old), but I'll know I'm trying my best to overcome challenges. ICBINS went through its redesign to aid in fighting many of the top entries by extension it is going to deal with other robots well. But the one thing I wont ever be doing is building intentionally poor robots to keep everyone else happy. You (general you not targeted at anyone) have to ask yourself if your aim is to get to the end field are you actually putting in the effort and innovating and refining new ideas and practising them. Or are you rehashing the same concepts the same way you have always built them in the hope that this time it is different? Because I know I'm standing at the side watching your fights and if your robot is a threat the next design of my bot will already be in mind with a counter for it.

I kinda lost track of what I started writing this post and I know it's going to rub some people up the wrong way because the short of it is 'try harder'. Just remember to keep all discussion civil.

EDIT: Spelling.
Last edited by Shakey on Tue Jul 07, 2015 8:27 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: EDFs

Post by EpicentrE »

We were all newcomers once; some of us found success quickly, some of us took many, many years before we got there. Yes, I find a lot of success now, but it took me 9 years to get my first AWS win. There was a large period of time where I barely ever even made it out of groups. I would never want to discourage newcomers; I would hope that my experiences as someone who had very mediocre performance for a very long time but kept trying to improve will inspire newcomers, not put them off.

My goals generally align with Alex's. Void is the machine I want to win the competition with, and the design decisions reflect that. I could build 3 of them if all I cared about was winning. Everything else I build is built because it's a fun concept or an engineering challenge. Yes, I want them to perform well in the arena and win some fights, but I don't expect them to go all the way.

Anyway, we're getting massively off-topic here. On the subject of EDFs, opinion seems to be split about 50/50. As Andy has said he won't be entering ALBOF in the next competition, I also have no intention of entering anything with one on either. The next Void will have improvements which I believe will make it fare better against EDF bots in the future, but I still believe they're problematic.

I also feel it's worth mentioning that I never stated that EDFs should be banned/restricted because they're "boring" or because "I don't like them". Those were definitely things I said, but the meat of the points I've been trying to get across are what I deem to be issues with balance, fairness, and competitiveness caused by them, which I attempted to get across in the most logical way possible, without personal bias. I probably failed because I get pretty passionate about this stuff, but that was my aim. I find it personally hurtful that anyone would suggest that I would want to ban something because I personally didn't like it. Not only do I have more integrity than that, but I care to much about this hobby to allow my own personal feelings or bias to risk damaging it.
Scott Fyfe-Jamieson, Captain of Epic Robotics. Champion of AWS38/41/42.
http://www.epicrobotics.co.uk

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Re: EDFs

Post by peterwaller »

Right here is my three pennyworth.
First I must admit EDF robots are not my favorites but unless someone comes up with a really good reason (which I havent heard yet) to ban them I think they should stay.
I think that the Antweight competition has been dominated by 3 divers recently but that has as much to do with their driving skills as their great robot design especially when you consider they all drive different types of robot.
I would like to win again but unless I get some practice and a lot of luck that is unlikly so I spend more time initially on the Fleas and now the Nanos in the search for success.
Win or lose I get great fun out of designing and building robots winning would be the iceing on the cake.

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